Thai House. 36 Strutton Ground. London SW1

Right in the foodie zone near St James Park, with its dozen stalls keeping office workers – amongst them Channel 4 employees – well-fed and faced with a plethora of daily lunch choices to rival any part of the city, sits Thai House. We chose this because it looked like it might be the perfect budget curry caff/takeaway of the area. But it really isn’t: prices aren’t that reasonable for the piddly portions they serve, and the food lacks depth of flavour and a spicy kick. Service is of the laid-back variety, as if they are constantly trying not to care. You’re better off buying the tasty stews, burritos, pies and meat combos on the street outside and taking lunch to the park than bothering with this scam from Siam.

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Closest tube: Pimlico

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Hunan. 51 Pimlico Road. London

Since 1982 Hunan has championed the No Menu concept, a ‘leave it to us’ ethos which involves finding out what you don’t eat/like, then bringing you lots of impressive little dishes – mostly pork-filled to start with – ranging from dumplings and spring rolls to scallops and shredded lamb. Between twelve and eighteen mini-courses is the norm. It works out well for them of course, as they just cook lots of food and plate it up in different amounts and combinations, but the concept makes your table feel special.
Cantonese specialities such as seabass, prawns with spinach, and lightly battered strips of chicken come before the larger dishes such as lobster noodles and crispy aromatic duck. It’s all very good, but at these prices it needs to be: £32.80 for lunch, £48.80 for dinner, with a minimum of two people sharing. The wine list is extensive and service, especially from the bouncy maitre’d Michael, especially friendly.

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Closest tube: Victoria

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